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Orbea was established in 1840 as a family-run company. A few years later, the economic crisis brought Orbea to the brink of bankruptcy. This would have meant doing away with the firm and with the jobs of 1,500 families. Showing once again that they weren’t ready to give up, the workers talked the owner into transferring the plant to them. The company became a cooperative, joining the Mondragon Cooperative Group in 1971. This way, they managed to keep their jobs and a brand with an already long history.